Woh…2009 is over? Man I just can’t believe it? Where did it go? Wasn’t it just yesterday I did the “Hangover Handicap” run in Coeur d’Alene on January 1st? Wow..
Well as I look back over the year I feel good about things overall. I had many high’s and one low. My race list was much shorter this year due to finances, and having signed up for Ironman 2010. Did you know that cost $550.00 bucks? Yikes! So that pretty much took up my entire racing budget for the year including my birthday, Christmas and anniversary.
Just for the heck of it, here’s the list of races I did this year:
Hangover Handicap 5 Miler – CDA, ID
CTRUN Ultra Marathon 37 miler: From the Idaho state line to 9 mile in Spokane, WA
Windermer Marathon: Spokane, WA
Bloomsday: Spokane, WA
EWU Sprint Triathlon: Cheney, WA
Tiger Tri Olympic Triathlon: Colville, WA (Link to Race report)
Titanium Man Olympic Triathlon: Pasco, WA
Black Diamond Half Ironman: Enumclaw, WA
So compared to last year (17 events) this seems rather modest, oh but wait…there’s more here than meets the eye! (or eyes if you have two of them)
But 1st let’s start with what I feel were my top 3 events:
1: My 1st Ultra Marathon: Somewhere in the back of my head I always wanted to try and do one and since this was right here in my home town I figured why not! I have to say this was not only my top race of the year it was just an amazing amount of fun! I’m sure some folks will say I’m nuts to run 37 miles but it was done at such a relaxed pace that it never felt difficult until the last 3 miles….THAT was work! To read more about it, click here:
2: My 2nd Half Ironman was the best triathlon I’ve ever done…bar none! Why? Well…. soooo many reasons:
- I think I was trained up properly and didn’t do more than what I had trained for. I had hoped on finishing under 6 hours (My previous half was 6:14:00) but secretly had 5:45:00 in my sights.
- I stayed within my abilities. There’s no magic on race day. You can only do what you have been training to do; so for each leg I set reasonable goals and met them. Even if I felt particularly great during any part of each leg I made sure I stayed within my “box”, knowing that if I pushed here then perhaps somewhere down the road I won’t have enough left to finish and finish strong.
- A strong support group! Almost my entire family was there to cheer me on and that was amazingly important to me and helpful! Also, my two training bud’s, Steve & Jerry, also did the race and it was a source of encouragement seeing them out on the course. (Having Steve breathing down my neck helped immensely!)
To read more about this race, click here:
3: WTS: Warrington Triathlon Series Triathlons….whew! That’s a mouthfull! This was a 12 week period (3 MONTHS!) of mock triathlons that included Jerry, his wife Dawn, Steve-o & I. This is something that Steve’s wife, Brenda came up with as a way to reduce the cost of doing triathlons and yet actually get the same effect. So Steve drew up some bike and run routes and we started swimming at Medical Lake (YUCK!) and after two of these mock tri’s we just knew we had to find a different lake as swimming in goose poop is not a lot of fun. So again Steve came up with Fish Lake as our take off point and I have to say, it worked beautifully.
Starting in Fish Lake gave us a beautiful location to swim, bike and run. Twelve Saturdays of open water swims at 6:30 AM was amazingly helpful in building not only our strength during the 30 minute to 1 hour and 30 minute swims but also awarded us with some amazing beauty found only in early morning training sessions. I think I’ve miss this the most since our last mock triathlon.
We then would “slowly” transition onto the bike leg and again due to the location we had a number of beautiful routes in which to choose from. (Show pic)
After the bike we would head out onto a paved ‘flat’ trail that gave us out and back distances of 10 miles or more if we wanted to run into Cheney. Mostly we did short bricks once we figured out that doing 10 or 12 miles wrecked us for the rest of the training week.
Suffice to say that this was a highlight in my training for the entire year and although I had doubts that this was the ‘best’ way to train, it certainly was the most enjoyable, even the 43 degree morning with fog on the lake…absolutely the best!
You can read more about these: Here and Here
Okay, I realize that I could go on and on about the best, because there were soooooo many highlights:
– Volunteering for Ironman 2009: I’m telling you…if you don’t DO Ironman CDA, then volunteer! You WON’T be disappointed. I would highly recommend doing the kayak as you are “up close and personal” with all the athletes. And if you go a few days before the event you can go out on the swim course and tag along with any of the swimmers as most really enjoy having someone there and will usually pop their heads up and chat with you for a while. (If you are interested then contact email@example.com to sign up.) Another good spot to volunteer for is the transition area as you get to see all the athletes but you also have some down time which enables you to cheer them on as they come and go for the bike and run.
– Biked over 100 miles…well, it was 101.6 but still, that was a high and a low…ugh my legs!
– Signed up for Ironman CDA 2010. For sure that was a high! I was sooooo giddy! I felt like a little kid!
– Trip to the big Island and Kona…oh, yeah, and I saw my daughters and son-in-law, but KONA! (Just kidding kids) Yes, that was a real treat as I was able to swim the same course that they do in the World Championships, except much shorter, and they even had buoys out. What a thrill! Each time I breathed I was able to see Ali’i Drive where they bike and run and each breath was a thrill as I took in the panoramic view of shops, cafes, and lava rock sea wall! Someday I’ll be doing the thing for real!
– Boise Foothills: I know this seems like a small thing but there’s something about those hills that just beckon me to run. For more info and pictures, click here.
Okay, so those were some of the good things and I guess I could also add that there was only ONE bad thing so that in its self is a good thing, right? I’m so confused.
The one bad thing was doing the Windermer Marathon here in Spokane. You can read my comment to the race directory here: http://www.active.com/running/spokane-wa/windermere-marathon-2009#Reviews
But suffice to say I didn’t make my time of 3:45:59, instead I did 3:49:07, which is 3 minutes and 8 seconds too slow. Good enough for 2nd place in my age division but not good enough for Boston. And this also was one of those highs and lows all in one race. The high was running with my training partner Steve-o until around mile 18 as he unselfishly gave me his watch as mine had malfunctioned and told me to continue on as he started having cramps.
I felt so good in the run! I hit EVERY split right on time until mile 23…which was mile 24..but, let’s not go there. So, I didn’t qualify for Boston and to be honest that hit me so hard that I don’t think I’ve fully recovered from it mentally and it’s been a struggle to even think about it ever since. This photo pretty much sums up how I felt at the end. (More pics here)
But…over all, this was a fantastic year and I need to thank a few people.
First off and most important, I want to thank my Lord and savior, Jesus (Just in case you weren’t sure) for allowing me to chase these goals and for the health to be able to complete them.
Secondly I want to thank my wife for putting up with my crazy athletic endeavors and also for joining in during the 12 weeks of mock triathlons. It was so great seeing you out there riding next to us as we ran and then afterwards swimming with you. (I know, I only did it once…but I was tired!) And for all the times I was grouchy before a big race. (Yes, all of them are big to me) Thanks for understanding.
Thirdly (is that a word?) A great big thanks to my #1 training partner Steve-o, “slow-mo, don’t follow me I’m lost” Warrington for all the miles we’ve put in together both on the bike, the run and in the water. Doing this sport of triathlon can be a lonely endeavor or it can tedious if you have the wrong training partner. But you have proven again and again to be very accommodating, patient, long winded…(in a good way!) and a Godly man. I feel so honored to be able to train with you and know that each time we go out for a run, bike or swim that I’m not with someone I have to put up with, but someone who is a blessing and an encourager and one who honors his wife and family and enjoys the simple pleasure of sport without ego or pride. Someone that I would be honored to run 100 miles with….oh yeah! Here we come Western States 100! (http://www.ws100.com/home.html) I know I know..2011, right?
Also thanks goes out to the triathlon community as well as some of my good friends who often race or train with me:
To all the guys at work: I don’t really think you read any of this silliness, but I do appreciate your encouragement and patience when I’m doing those long training miles and have to stretch the lunch hour a little longer than normal.
To “The Age Grouper” podcast dudes, “You RAWK!”. Really, you guys are such an great source of information and hilarity. I can only wish that you guys lived closer so I could train and race with you! (For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about go to http://theagegrouper.com/ and click on the Podcast link and download a few of them. You won’t be disappointed.
To my kids: Well most of the time you’re not even in Spokane, but thanks for praying for me and for the encouraging comments and I do hope one day we can ALL meet in Kona and you can watch your old Dad do something that he has dreamed about for the last 5 years.
To my Dad: Dad, thanks for the good genetics that you and Mom gave me and the freedom that I had as a kid to play any sport I wanted….except football. I’m soooo glad Mom wouldn’t sign that permission slip. Who knows what part of me would have been broken beyond repair!
Well here we are in the duldrums of winter and it’s getting more and more difficult to stay motivated to train and maintain my current level of fitness. What I need is a reason or an event to shoot for…..Hmmmm, what can I do? There’s no triathlons going on here in the great North West as the temperatures are WAY TOO COLD! There’s not even road races at this time of year. (Probably too hard to interest volunteers to stand out in the cold!)
So what’s a guy to do? Hmmmm, well, I do have a birthday coming up. A rather BIG one. Well, not like turning a 100 or anything, but it’s big enough that on that day I’m going to head over to I-HOP and order off the “Senior” menu! That’s right….I’m turning 55!!!!!!!!!! Whew! How in the heck did it come to this? How is it, that it was just a few days ago I was laying on the grass in my yard at 917 Ironwood Road, North Palm Beach, Florida and looking up at the sky and wondering where my future would take me. I was probably 10 or 11 years old, and now, here I am, huddling in my house with the heat turned up and two jackets on wondering how I’m going to celebrate my BIG 55th birthday? Whew…how time fly’s.
Well, in trying to figure out what to do on my birthday I decided it had to include something about 55. 55 miles, 55 moments, 55 of something. So I went to my two Ironman training buddies and asked what they thought I should and we came up with the following:
SWIM: Swim 1 mile
BIKE: Bike 40 miles
RUN: Run 14 miles
For a total of 55 miles.
Wait a minute…it’s winter here in Spokane. There’s no way I’m going to swim in a lake or ride outside in December! Oh yeah, there is such thing as an indoor pool and Computrainier bikes inside a gym, so maybe this might just work!
So the plan is, on December 29th @ 8:00 AM, Steve-o, my training buddy, and I (Gerry thinks we’re crazy!) will head over to the new “Y” and start my epic adventure of doing 55 miles on my birthday. (And THEN go to I-HOP!)
So stay tuned as I’m sure we’ll have some stories to share about our adventure of running and maybe biking in VERY cold weather here in Spokane.
Well it’s been a while since I’ve written and I have to say it’s not because I haven’t been doing anything, I’ve just been a little flat. I think sometimes without an immediate goal in front of me I tend not to focus on running and fitness but more on life issues, which is good since during my training this past summer I sort of tuned those things out.
I know the title of this blog is about Boise and the run I did there and I will get to that, but I have to tell you what I’m doing right now.
Right now, even as I type I’m watching an amazing documentary called, “Ultramarathon Man: 50 Marathons, 50 States, 50 Days”. It’s a story about Dean Karnazes and his project to run 50 marathons in 50 days to raise awareness of obesity in our kids as well as just kids being overweight in general.
Well I have to tell you…this is a great motivational movie. And it was great to see Dean interact with everyone and he is what he appears to be; a guy who loves running and people, and treats everyone with respect, no matter their stature or place in the world. To him everyone is amazing and has amazing stories to tell about why they run, whether it’s an experienced runner or jogger.
Right now he’s running in Alaska and encountered a huge lower leg of a moose on day 16 of this 50 day event as they were running. Dean asked where did that come from? And a runner next to him pointed off to the left of the trail, and said, probably from that bear right over there. And sure enough there was a bear gnawing down on the remains of the moose. Amazing.
I want to make a strong recommendation: Go to your local library or hop on over to Amazon and order two things: 1. The book called “Ultramarathon Man” and rent the movie I’m watching right now. You will not be disappointed. Dean is an amazing individual and is a great story-teller in the book and a down to earth guy in the movie. His influence in running should not be taken for granted and probably should get more media attention as most all his runs are for charity.
Okay…I’ve said enough about Dean, but really, read the book and watch the movie. Amazing.
Now, so let’s talk about Boise and the fantastic foothills. Each time we travel to Boise to visit family I look up at the foothills and say, “I’ve gotta run those hills!”. And this trip during the Thanksgiving weekend was no exception. We had a wonderful time with family and ate some gerrrrrreat food, and on Saturday the weather was cold and the sky clear. A couple of years ago when we were there I ran the trail and came to a fork and had to choose which way to go. One way lead up to a tower and the other went up and down for about 13 miles with rolling hills. I was a little short on time that day and said someday I’ll come back and do the tower trail (Lucky Peak Trail). Well, Saturday after Thanksgiving was that day.
The weather in Boise had been mild but rainy and the trail was very muddy and the 1st 1/5 mile was red sticky clay and the more I ran the taller I became. Finally I had to scrap off all the mud and try and find grass to run on. What was interesting was I was listening to a podcast by “The AgeGrouper” folks and they were talking about how the sport of Triathlon had changed how they did other things in their lives. One of the things that Jeff mentioned was he tended not to give up on things too soon. He felt as a result of putting in so many miles of training that if things got a little tough he’d just tuck his head down and keep going. So, that’s what I did, I just hunkered down, and pretty soon I was out of the sticky mud and flying down the trail.
Oh what a glorious day! I love that God has blessed me with the love of running and being outdoors. What a way to spend a Saturday morning!
I came to a spot where there was a make shift water trough that was overflowing with water. As I looked up toward the tower I saw a heard of elk. Probably around 20 to 25 or more.
You probably can’t see in this photo, but perhaps if you click on it and enlarge it you might spot them on the right side of the photo near the top. Since they sort of stood in my way I thought I had better get them moving so I wouldn’t encounter them at the top, so I yelled out, “Yoh! Elk!”, in true Rocky style. It took about two seconds for my voice to get to them and all of a sudden as one they all jumped and started moving quickly to the top of the hill and hopefully over the top and down the other side. I was nervous that I might meet up with the boss at the top and I sure didn’t want to do that.
I continued on around the corner and up the trail and soon came to my 1st real amount of snow and a spooky dark forest. Normally I’m not nervous about being out in the woods alone as I’ve had my share of lonely runs, but the words of my sister-in-law came ringing back to me from the night before; “Be careful up there…I’ve seen cougar tracks up in the foothills”. Great. Just what I wanted to hear. Now I know how my wife felt on our honeymoon when I had her start hiking out to the main road by herself because the car wouldn’t start. As she was leaving I said, “Hey hon, if you hear any noise in the forest it could be a mountain lion so be careful”. Yeah..now I understand.
When I reached this point I stopped and was wondering what I should do. I ran back to the corner to see if that guy who I’d seen a few times when looking back down the hills was still following me and close, but I didn’t see him. So I just shouted a few times and took off running as fast as I could through the ever-deepening snow. As I was about halfway through I heard a noise off to my left and stopped (my heart almost did to) and it was a large elk bounding down the mountain side. Whew… I started up again and took a few more steps when I heard another sound off to my right, and it was another elk taking off up the hill. Shesss! Don’t they know I’m trying to run here?! GOSH!
So finally I ran out of the spooky forest and found myself in the sun again, yes! The snow was the deepest here, probably around 12 inches or so, so I wasn’t really running at this point, more like plodding. Again…memories of our honeymoon.
I kept plodding along and finally the trail cleared and the tower was right there in front of me. I did it! I made it to the top of one of the MANY summits of the Boise foothills! What a view! Oh man, the WIND! I felt like this must how it must be on top of Everest! The wind was howling! I tried to make a video but all you can here is the noise of the wind in the mic.
Well, this was something I had hoped to do one day and guess what? I want to do it again! There’s just something about the Boise foothills that just continue to call to me whenever I’m there. Just can’t wait to get out in them. Next time? Next time I’m going to wear my camelback and bring lots of food. The run back was great but I was SOOOOO hungry! When I got back to my mother-in-law’s place I had breakfast and then an hour later we went out to eat pizza! YES! That’s why I run! HA!